About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. Stopped in my tracks, Kristen, by your thoughts on Jesus as the door. I’ve taught John 10:9 to kids and even thought about it in relation to the door in Noah’s ark, but never once have I envisioned the swing of His permission for all the enters a year. This is such a vivid picture of God’s sovereignty alongside His goodness and love.

    • That’s what I can’t get over about it, Michele–“the picture of God’s sovereignty alongside His goodness and love.” There’s a tension there, I know, but as it says in Psalm 56, “This I know, that God is for me.”

  2. Kristen,
    Good morning kindred spirit. I too have tried to think of all the possible outcomes, and make all the preparations, and button things down so that I don’t have any surprises. This is called trying to “have control”. I’ve also learned that the desire to have control is born out of fear or a lack of trust. If I can take care of things just so, then I will eliminate the outcomes that I am afraid of. Slowly, God has been peeling my white knuckles off the illusion of control and not that I don’t ever plan ahead, but I allow for God to have His say in “My” plans. Like you said, Jesus is the door. He will not open a door unless He will give us the grace that is sufficient to handle whatever comes with trusting and walking through. Better to walk through the doors that Jesus opens, than the doors that we push open ourselves because we think that we know best. My life has been a perpetual exercise in learning to trust, letting go of control, and leaning into God no matter what. Excellent post.

    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  3. I am in a struggling marriage and just started counseling last night – please pray that HOPE will have the last word in this. I do so appreciate the prayers of this community.

    • Oh, dear Susan. I hear your heart and I pray now, in Jesus’ keeping name, for His healing power to assure you that He loves you, He knows you are hurting and He will infuse the breaks in your marriage with His mending grace. May you find the courage and hope to walk with Him into restoration. If you husband is hurting, may He speak to those hurts and show both of you the way back into each other’s hearts. The Lord is The Healer. Blessings on you as you lean on Him — through your counseling, but also all through life. May He bless you on this journey back to wholeness. Hear our prayer, O Lord! Much love to you today, Susan. In friendship, Patricia

    • Susan, I’m so sorry for all you’re going through. I’m praying right now and setting my phone alarm to keep praying for you throughout the day. Praying all parties involved have willing eyes to see, ears to listen, and tender hearts bent toward one another. God sees your pain and is ever for you (Psalm 56:9). Sending you so much love right now, dear one. xo

  4. Kristen,

    Your post reminds me of the song “God is in Control”. The chorus talks about His children believing we won’t be forsaken, we choose to remember & never be shaken. There is no power above or beside Him we know. It states that we have faith in almighty God. We may not like the situation, but He is in control. He is asking us to put our faith completely in Him. Isaiah 55:8-9 states: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” He sees the entire picture while we only see what’s in front of us. He knows the future. God doesn’t frown on us making plans. He wants us to trust Him with our plans. We can’t control everything in our lives. For many that may drive us crazy. In the end He will swing doors open or shut according to His righteous plans for our lives.

    Blessings 🙂

  5. Truly an important reminder for me, who has always tried to arrange things, make them happen and direct the possible outcome. Still learning to stay under that umbrella of trust with God’s plan, never knowing when exactly the rain will let up, or the sun shine. But I have learned that His mercies are new every morning, and that He makes my path clear when I follow. Thank you for sharing what’s true, it has its marvelous way of changing an old mindset, so that we may emerge into a closer walk with Jesus.

    • Thank you for sharing here, Lynn. I love the way you say, “He makes my path clear when I follow.” We may only see a step or two in front of us, but really, that is enough for today.

  6. Dear Kristen,
    Thank you, my Colorado friend! Oh, I loved your message this morning! Thank you for sharing such encouragement — especially that Jesus is the door and, in Him, “hope always, always gets the last word.” Amen! And warmest thanks to you! With His love, Patricia (P.S. Since we’re both in Colorado, let’s please connect. In person! Whenever you can. Meantime, thank you for inspiring today. You totally blessed!)

    • Yes, Patricia, yes! I would love that so much. I’m in COS–remind me where you are again? And thanks so much for the kind words here. I’m thrilled to be able to give back from the well of encouragement you’ve given me, Patricia!

      • Wonderful! We’re in Aurora. I meet my COS friends halfway — in Castle Rock. At Panera or something like that. Hope we can make it happen — whenever you’d like. Just let me know. Or, I’ll do the same. Meantime, thanks again for your wonderful post!

  7. Hi everyone. We are gods children nows all about us so let us be thankful and greatful for the little things he has given us He is the mighty one. He is our rock and our salvation.The Lord give us only what we can handle. So when we are hurting turn to him and his word to give us strength and courage to go on. Taking small steps and live for today and not worry about so much.

  8. Kristen,
    I enjoyed this so much. thank-you for sharing your delightful story with the connection of those two little creatures. Yesterday started off in a beautiful way, sun shining, surprise visitors, and continued in a good way. Later on my husband and I decided to go and do some errands. As we drove down the street a car came barreling out of a complex directly toward us. Later my husband said that the sound I muffled alerted him since the sun was directly in his eyes. I am so grateful being the outcome could of been so different. I believe that it was another reminder that, no I am not in control, but that yes I can always trust that God is.
    Have a blessed day all,
    Penny

  9. Kristen, this is much needed encouragement for today. I’m so often the rabbit. I finagle and plan and snowplow in order to get good benefits for my adult children and it works less and less with time. Trust is a big deal for me; I know God is calling me to place these beloved, maddening children under his umbrella and, in a sense, walk away. It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever be called to do, and I’m desperate for the sun to rise. Thank you for helping me know I’m not alone, and that I can rest in Him.

  10. We like to think we have control and know it better than God but as you confirm here, we don’t. No matter how much we think we know what is best and can plan all we want, in the end, God’s plans are always better. Yes I am a control freak most times and think that I should have control over everything, my hubby, my kids, my job and my life and when it is less than where I think I should be, I get discouraged and wonder where did I go wrong, where had I failed. Thank you Lord for loving on all of us even when we think we know better than You or think our plan is the right path to freedom. This year, open my heart to fully trust in Your way for me and know that no matter what comes my way, You will never leave me. You will always be right beside each and every step of the way as You had always been from the beginning. Thank you for sharing this Kristen.

  11. Some of the very best things that have happened to us, were the least expected. And the hard things that have hit out of nowhere, have always been used for good somehow. Good reminder. Blessings to you.

  12. Kristen, Thank you for your words that hope always, always has the last word! I needed to hear that and that God is in control……having some family trauma that is trying to waylay me right now……it is making me very sad and depressed……..need to look to Jesus “the door” for a way through this and hope for things to get better! I know Jesus is faithful and all His plans will prevail……..please pray for a good outcome! Thank you so much……God bless you for your words! Lauren

  13. I am reminded, after reading everyine’sy thoughts and experiences, that there is a constant battle going on between Satan’s minions and the spirit world of God’s warriors. We truly have no clue how many times per day that as we go about our day, a tragedy has been avoided and stopped by our God. All due to His vigilance and all He asks of us is our obedience and allegiance. What a mighty God we serve!! Keep trusting and serving dear sisters. As the old hymn says, “it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”

  14. After 6 years of horrendous events, I just totally gave up. No matter what we planned, disaster was right along with it. Devestating deaths in our family and personal health issues that are permanent have steared our life in directions I never would have dreamed. So several weeks ago I gave up. No more plans, no hope that things will improve. I’ve always known that our plans are subject to God’s editing, but I’ve started wondering what I’ve done to cause all the chaos. I rarely leave the house anymore, I stay in bed for days at a time. This is not chronic depression. I’ve been taking antidepressants for years. I have simply given up. I read and study and try to understand what went wrong. I rarely think past the next 24 hours. I can’t find an answer that I understand. There is no joy in my life. I really miss planning and looking forward to something.

    • Oh Shannon, I’m just so, so sorry. Really and truly. I’m sorry for all the horrendous events and the devastation and sorrows left in its long wake. I don’t know what else to say, but I want you to know you aren’t alone. I’m here and this community is here. I’m praying for you today–setting the timer on my phone to do so throughout this weekend. I pray the Lord fills you with a fresh awareness of His presence, and that when you next look out a window, you see even the faintest glimmer of hope looking back in. You are SO beloved, Shannon. So beloved.